12 Ways Youth Can Serve at Home

In Galatians 5:13-14 we read “You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh[a]; rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

To love and serve our neighbors, this command is as crucial today as it has ever been. However, with the ongoing struggles of a global pandemic, our traditional service trips and many of our service projects have been put on hold.

Below, we are sharing some of our favorite ways to continue having a mission trip experience, while staying at home or in your community. These are great mission opportunities for individuals or your next youth group community service project.

Serve in Your Church

The Sanctuary of LaGrave Avenue Church
SERVE@Home in your local Church

1. Call or visit congregation members

Talk to your pastors or elders and get a list of congregation members who could use a little company. This is also a great way to encourage your students to get to know the older members of your congregation.

2. Write cards/notes to older individuals

Everyone likes to get mail! Write to the older members of your congregation or find a nursing home that you can bless with some handwritten notes!

3. Run a class or book club

Find something you or your students are interested in and start a small group about it! Maybe there is a book you are all interested in or a topic that you can focus a scripture study around.

4. Help with cleaning or gardening

Ripon California SERVE work site
Students at Ripon SERVE@Home working in a Community Garden

Churches are big spaces and it’s not uncommon to have a few spaces that don’t get cleaned very often. Cleaning and gardening are easy school student service project ideas.

Serve in Your Community

Students Serving at Edmonton Alberta BBQ
Students Serving at Edmonton Alberta BBQ

5. Help your neighbors with home projects

Take this opportunity to partner with your community and get to know your neighbors a little better, and offer to lend a hand while you’re at it.

6. Clean out your closet

There are a lot of organizations that would love donations of gently used goods.

7. Reconnect with friends near and far

Phone calls, letters, or even a simple text message can brighten up a day. Take this opportunity to reach out and reconnect. Maybe offer a listening ear to someone who you know is struggling.

8. Share something you love

Do you love hiking, biking, gardening, painting, photography, board games, or really any other hobby? Start a group to participate in these things together! You could even look around your congregation or community for people in mentorship networks who may do these things professionally. Ask if they would willing teach a class about the topic and be part of a social service program. 

Serve in Your Home

SERVE@Home doing extra work around the house

9. Help with extra chores

Take the extra step to do a chore that isn’t usually your responsibility. This is a simple way that you can serve at home.

10. Help a sibling with their homework or spend some time doing something they like doing

A great way for students to see service on many levels encourages them to look for ways to serve their parents and siblings differently.

11. Collect your family stories

Ask your parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles about the history of your family and document the stories in a fun way. This is a great way to learn about your personal history and connect with your family in a new way.

12. Pray

SERVE Mission Trip
SERVE@Home in prayer with a group

We know that prayer is powerful and that praying for our churches, communities, and families can be an act of service.

Acts of Service are All Around Us

Service opportunities are all around us, we just need to be creative when looking for new ideas.

Interested in a more intentional service event for your church this summer? Check out the ThereforeGo Ministries SERVE@Home kits. Filled with service project ideas, t-shirts, curriculum, and pre-recorded encouraging messages, it’s everything you need to bring a service trip to your backyard. Each kit provides enough supplies for 10 students and 2 adult leaders. Learn more at thereforego.com/servehome.

A Reflection on SERVE@Home

We have been living in a time when plans have been canceled or postponed at the speed of sound. One day we were sorting out the details about going away on SERVE and excitedly coming home from the Leadership Summit, then a week later, we were hunkering down for a 6-month lock-in. We didn’t foresee this.

It was/is hard, this new world. If there was a glimmer of hope for ministry during this time, it came in the form of SERVE@home as a hands-on practical way to, within a COVID reality, still be a model of creative Kingdom hospitality and compassion. 

As a SERVE team at Covenant CRC in Edmonton, Alberta, it was important to remind our church community that in spite of the world seemingly shutting down, the needs of our surrounding communities were still real. 15 students and leaders experienced that first hand.

Each morning we gathered for devotions, listening for what Jesus was saying to each one of us through Matthew 5, the Beatitudes. Powerful messages absorbed through personal reflection to set the pace for the day.

Each reflection tied into what that day had in store for us. Between moving a young family from one home to another, preparing meals for those shut-in and who could not afford food that week, delivering these meals, hosting a COVID-safe BBQ, sorting clothes and toiletries for those in need and the list goes on. As Jesus once said after seeing the crowds of people in need, “the harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few”. 

At the end of each day, we listened to each other. The stories of where we saw God and His amazing work in action. 

SERVE@home was an answer to prayer for our church. A community that desperately needed community. Where grace and compassion revealed itself through God’s redemptive story that is as real today as it was when He promised to Abram, “and all nations will be blessed through you”

About the Author: Ron deVries lives in Edmonton, AB, and is the ministry ambassador to ThereforeGo as well as a Regional Catalyst for the office of Faith Formations of the CRCNA.